This year I felt that my focus word needed to be intentional. It is a work in progress, but I have focused on being intentional on a few areas of my life. I have looked for tips and tools that help me to be intentional in those areas. Earlier this month I started listening to Intentional Living by John Maxwell. From listening to many of his trainings and books, I know that he is a man that lives intentionally.
This book Intentional Living has so much knowledge and wisdom in it. He encourages people to dream and live bigger than themselves. He shares about the difference between success and significance. He talks about the trade-offs that we have to make to live a life of significance. He talks about living beyond our fears, and trusting God to help us fulfill the dreams He has given us. He talks about walking in faith for the resources we need for our God given purpose.
He talks about passionate people and their intentional pursuit of dreams bigger than themselves. He shares about the importance of being surrounded by like-minded people, staying on the path of the true why behind the dream, and keeping the right attitude. He talked about the different responses to dreams: survival, success, and significance.
What caught my attention though, and stopped me from going further in his train of thought in the moment, was when he shared the following story: “Dreams often come one size too big, so that we can grow into them.” He shared about how as a child his parents would buy a size bigger shoes for him, because he was a growing young man. They would tell him “You will grow into these in no time.” He said that is what he tells people now as they step into their significant shoes, “It may feel a little too big for you right now, but don’t worry as you start taking steps, you will grow into them and become the significant person you were created to be.”
I quickly thought about how many times, I have stopped my pursuit because I feel like it is bigger than me. I never considered it was something I would grow into as I moved forward. Even in small things, I have allowed myself to doubt and refused to step out of my comfort zone.
My mind immediately went back to shoes. When I worked at the hospital, we would often have shoes sales. The shoes were specific brands designed for nurses who were on their feet all day. While there would be some American shoes, the majority were European shoes. The sizes were much different than what I was used to, instead of a size 8 or 9, I would wear anywhere from a 39 to 41. As one of the salespersons helped me, I told her there was a little slip in the heal when I walked. She explained that it was indeed the right size as there was suppose to be a little room. She told me that Americans actually where their shoes too small.
That message screamed at me, as I contrasted it with John Maxwell’s comment about growing in to who you are created to be. I realized not only have I not been willing to consider growing in to my calling, I have been content to wear a calling that is even smaller than what I am created for right now.
The dream that has been in me for over two decades is to see the Church be the Church. Daily I see the hurting world around me. I see the tangible needs of people, and want nothing more than to see God’s hands reach down and and minister to the need. I remember coming to the realization that God did not call the government or the non-profits to meet the needs, He called the Church. My repentant heart broke before the Lord and He created in me a new heart. I began to see things differently and want to see a change in how I helped others.
At first, I didn’t see that my dream was in operation. I knew what I wanted to see happen, and what I was doing did not look like I thought it would. Yet, I distinctly remember the day that God showed me I was in fact living out that dream. It was at a smaller scale than the dream I have, but God was growing it, and I was walking it out.
Somewhere along the way, I know almost the exact point, I stopped expanding and instead shrunk back from the dream that has been within me for decades. I allowed my vision to get blurred by hurt and rejection. I recognized it, and attempted to adjust and refocus. Eventually though, I pulled back from all but my professional role. Now here I stand in shoes that are too small for the dream inside of them.
We bought some shoes for our grandkids a few years ago. They always came in flip flops, and we thought it would be safer for them to have enclosed shoes when they were riding the bicycles they kept at our house. So the shoes stayed at our house, and when they wanted to ride they would put their shoes on. Eventually their shoes became too small, yet I know for a while they would still squeeze their feet in the shoes because they wanted to ride their bicycles. It wasn’t until they needed some assistance in getting on, I realized how small the shoes were compared to their feet. We went and bought new shoes. Yet, four years later, as I was cleaning up their room the other day and I still found one of the size 9 Minnie Mouse shoes and the size 7 Turtle shoes.
I have to let go the past. I have to reclaim the dream that is inside of me. I have to step out of the shoes that are too small, and go ahead and embrace the shoes that I can grow into. I have to look ahead and not behind. I have to stop just trying to survive, there is so much more inside of me than mere survival. It is time that I ask God for new shoes, allow Him to show me the size and trust that I will not only find success as I walk in them, but that they will leave a trail of significance as He leads.